The combination of the tree's variety, the soil, the microclimate, the topology and the landscape hide the secret of the uniqueness offered at this tiny part of the planet.
The mastic is the resin of the mastic tree, an evergreen tree that lives up to 150 years. The resin is obtained from incisions made in the bark of each tree. The resin is sticky and flows in droplets from the incisions and solidifies on the ground in different shapes after 15-20 days. The pieces of dry mastic can then be collected for cleaning and eventual sale. In addition to mastic, mastic oil is also produced. Initially its taste is bitter but after chewed it leaves a special flavour which is unique.
The mastic of Chios was recognised from the antiquity not only for its special flavour but also for its use in medicine. It is recorded as the first natural chewing gum. It was also used in cosmetology for face and body cleansing and was also an ingredient in a series of pharmaceutical recipes and other remedies.
In 1997 the mastic production on Chios was granted protected designation of origin within the European Union. In 2002 was established in Athens a company with main shareholder the Union of Mastic producers of Chios with aim the promotion of the mastic throughout the world. The managing director of the company Yiannis Mandalas stressed: "In terms of its usage, the mastic can only be compared only with another natural product, the vanilla. However, due to its theurapeutic properties the mastic predominates. Mastic is a natural antibacterial, anti-flammatory and antimicrobial. It is also used as key ingredient in confectionery, cuisine, cosmetology and in beverage and pharmaceutical industry."
In August 2015 the monograph reference of mastic changed by the European Medicines Agency and was registered as "traditional herbal medicinal products."
"This give us power," noted Mandalas, adding that "in cooperation with the union we develop a new series of products through which we will attempt to satisfy the need of the consumers throughout the world. Those who suffer from dyspepsia, skin problems and wound healing problems can follow a natural treatment based on the mastic."
Nowadays, mastic travels to all continents. In Saudi Arabia is widely used to perfume the rooms and the cloths. In Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel is used in cooking, bakery and confectionary. In Northern Africa flavours the rice and the soup while 10 tons of mastic are exported to the US where is exclusively used by the pharmaceutical industries.